The smartphone has literally put everyday things in your pocket. Almost on the quiet, MP3 players, appointment calendars, cameras, lexicons, e-mail clients and telephones have merged into one universal device. It is no wonder that the majority of us have our telephones with us 24/7, but we hardly ever use it to actually make a phone call. And the appropriation continues in earnest: As a result of the complete network integration with the internet, we can now access data almost everywhere with whose help we can do far more than just find out what's going on in the world. We are integrating with networked technology which now means that we can control the temperature in our living rooms from our offices desks, record our favourite television programme when out running errands, we can check if we have brushed our teeth well and for long enough and keep an eye on the amount of steps we have walked so that our own figure is right and the device continues to comfortably fit in our pockets.
It is hard to believe that there are still moments in which we must put down the interface to our daily lives. And that doesn't necessarily even mean when at work because the workplace is itself interconnected for the most part nowadays. But the drive to the workplace is one of those occasions when we are forced to put down our loyal life companions, a companion which we take out and look at 88 times each day on average. And this is something which casts the car in a poor light; in these times of universal interconnection and smart technology, it appears strangely isolated. It is time for a paradigm shift. It is time to think differently about cars. It is time for EDAG Soulmate.
The study that was conducted in conjunction with Bosch does a lot of things better that are widely understood to be part of interconnected mobility for the future. And all that within a conceptional framework, which not only finally makes driving smart, but which also sets new standards when it comes to design flexibility and production possibilities. The soulmate's inner most workings is based on the EDAG Light Cocoon, which is in turn the presented idea of a new lightweight construction concept produced using a 3D printing process, a process that looked to nature for ideas and replaced surfaces with spatial and far more stable structures. This in turn results in significant reductions in weight - for example an entire 25% in the case of the bonnet alone. Just as is the case with Light Cocoon, a special high-tech translucent material serves as a skin that is lit from the inside. This not only allows a fully individualised colour for the car to be created at anytime - and this is naturally something that you not only do with the App on your smartphone - but it also allows light-based warning signals to be given from both the inside and outside in situations of danger.
A highlight of the soulmate is its inner workings developed by Bosch for the illuminated and lightening-fast car. Where operating concepts are sometimes either over-the-top futuristic, but barely thought through, or conversely useable, and only aesthetically attractive to a limited extent. In the case of the soulmate, everything is aligned down to the smallest detail of the digital smartness. And that not only in terms of appearance and functionality, but surprisingly also in terms of haptic. Thanks to its very latest eye-movement and gesture control, all the soulmate's operating elements are not only intuitive, but they also ensure a safer operation that is as free from distractions as possible. The dashboard and central console in the soulmate have been united in a purely electronic display. Its contents adapt, for example, to the vehicle's current environment. But the driver's calendar and his personal preferences are also taken into account. And should an appointment be cancelled, the vehicle automatically adjusts the route – to a road where automated driving is allowed, for instance, to give the driver more free time. But this is just one of many applications planned by Bosch, in which the vehicle actively takes care of its driver.
Besides the normal data that you know from a cockpit, the soulmate can, for example, establish contact to the smart-house over the internet. When the postman rings yet again at the front door, but you are still stuck in traffic, the soulmate takes care of the communication for you independent of the smartphone, and informs the driver that someone is ringing the front door bell. Thanks to modern, smart-house technology, the postman can be allowed into a secured area of the house where he can then get verification that the package has been delivered.
In addition, Bosch have installed the "neoSense" haptic display in the vehicle, a touch screen that gives the driver the feeling that he is using mechanical buttons. This device can generate different surface textures, allowing elements to be felt on the display. This haptic feedback makes it easier to operate infotainment applications such as navigation, radio, and smartphone functions.
The example with the postman gives us a clear picture of where the technological journey will take us. Soulmate is not a driveable smartphone and is also not an interface for mobile devices. It is instead, literally, an assistant and life companion - therefore soulmate - which makes life easier for the driver in many different areas of their life. Whether it be the communication or the control of smart, interconnected technology - soulmate transposes the idea of the smartphone as a universal "Jack-of-all-trades" on the street and ensures that mobility and "mobile" not only finally find each other, but also complement each other in a way that makes sense just like the telephone and the software. And just like that making telephone calls with the smartphone is actually now just a secondary function almost, it is certainly imaginable that due to the possibilities offered by the soulmate technology, driving the car - which is its primary function - will actually become the thing that we pay the least attention to in the future. In particular when we look to the present.
It is already the problem today that many pay more attention to their smartphone when driving than to the actual driving itself - which is certainly a risk. It is for this reason all the more important to find solutions in the future which will not limit our mobile interconnection, but which will complement it in a way that makes sense and which makes driving safer at the same time. EDAG soulmate is not just a possible solution, but perhaps also an evolutionary step for the automobile which finally brings together comfort and the comfort of the digital everyday life to perfection. And that within a technical framework, which when it comes to design possibilities, can write automobile history when it comes to economic efficiency and the innovative use of resources.
EDAG Soulmate – Making of(42 MB / 03:36 min)
IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018
20.09.18 - 27.09.18
Halle 13 / Stand B33